Plays

2nd May 1997

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's play 2nd May 1997 is a drama set over the course of the 1997 UK General Election in which the Labour Party under the leadership of Tony Blair won a landslide victory over the Conservatives. The play presents three separate personal stories from different points on the political spectrum as the scale of Labour's victory becomes clear. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 8 September 2009 in a co-production with nabokov theatre company, in association with Watford Palace Theatre and Mercury Theatre Colchester.

The action takes place in three bedrooms over the course of the night following the election, and the morning after. In Part One, set just before midnight, Tory MP Robert prepares to attend the electoral count. With defeat looming large, he fears becoming a forgotten man, while his wife Marie counts the cost of her sacrifice to politics. In Part Two, set in the early hours of the morning, Lib Dem footsoldier Ian has brought home party-crasher Sarah from an election get-together, but they’re about to connect in a way neither of them expected. Lastly, in Part Three, teenage best friends Jake and Will wake up to a new political reality, with a new set of Cabinet ministers to memorise before their A-level Politics class. Jake dreams of Number 10 and a life in politics, while Will dreams of Jake.

In his introduction to Jack Thorne Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2014), Thorne writes: '2nd May 1997 was and is my attempt to write a political play without the politics. ... I wanted to tell the story of that election from all sides. I was also frustrated by my inability to write a play about anyone else but me, so doing a triptych – inspired by David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky – felt like an opportunity to force myself outside of my comfort zone. Three political parties, three love stories, one night.'

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by George Perrin and designed by Hannah Clark. It was performed by James Barrett, Geoffrey Beevers, Linda Broughton, Jamie Samuel, Hugh Skinner and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The production then embarked on a regional UK tour.

3 Sisters on Hope Street

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

3 Sisters on Hope Street is a re-imagining of Chekhov’s classic play Three Sisters, set amongst the Jewish community in wartime Liverpool and written by playwright Diane Samuels and actor/writer Tracy-Ann Oberman.

Liverpool, 1946. A year after the sudden death of their father, sisters Gertie, May and Rita Lasky share their once grand home on Hope Street with their asthmatic brother Arnold, Auntie Beil (who still keeps her packed suitcase under the spare bed) and an old family friend Dr Nate Weinberg (who claims, hand on heart, to be on the wagon). As the sisters regularly welcome GIs and pilots from the nearby American base, each continues her own search for meaning amidst the shattered remains of their city, in a rapidly changing world.

3 Sisters on Hope Street was first performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool in 2008 before transferring to Hampstead Theatre in London.

About A Goth

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A short monologue play about a young man who volunteers in old people’s homes and suffers paroxysms of love and hate for its residents.

Nick is seventeen, a Goth and gay. In between volunteering at his local old people’s home where he conversely gets chatted up and abused by its residents and having to attend re-enactments of Medieval battles with his slightly barmy parents, he finds the time to hang out with best mate, Greg. But a sudden death at the home forces him to confront his fears of coming out as well as perhaps giving his pessimistic mindset a rethink. Wells is well known for his touching comic monologues that are ideal showcases for young actors.

About A Goth was first performed at Òran Mór in Glasgow in 2009.

The Absence of War

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

The Absence of War offers a meditation on the classic problems of leadership, and is the third part of a critically acclaimed trilogy of plays (Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges) about British institutions.

Its unsparing portrait of a Labour Party torn between past principles and future prosperity, and of a deeply sympathetic leader doomed to failure, made the play hugely controversial and prophetic when it was first presented at the National Theatre, London, in 1993.

Absolutely! (Perhaps)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Absolutely! (Perhaps) is a sparkling comedy on the elusive nature of reality, in which truth is negotiable and identity is performed. It is an adaptation of Luigi Pirandello’s first play Così è (Se Vi Pare), and opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre in 2003.

In a small Italian town lives Signor Ponza, his wife and his apparent mother-in-law Signora Frola, who he will not allow to visit. With the neighbours gossiping over his cruelty, Signor Ponza claims that Signora Frola is mad and refusing to accept that her daughter is dead, and that he now lives with his second wife. Signora Frola counters the accusation, claiming that Ponza has unwittingly re-married his first wife. Impossibly, the Signora Ponza in question claims to be both daughter and second wife, plunging the play into a tangle of fractious theatricality.

audio Adam's Rib

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A classic battle of the sexes and a courtroom farce, this peerlessly witty examination of husband and wife attorneys was first crafted for Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works, David Rambo includes never-before-heard original material in this adaptation of the Oscar-nominated screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz.

Featuring: Adam Arkin, Anne DeSalvo, Paul Eiding, Mary Pat Gleason, Annabelle Gurwitch, Anne Heche, Marvin Kaplan, Loren Lazerine, Robert Lesser, John Pankow, Amy Pietz

Afterimage

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Seeing beyond Winston's disfiguring scars and foreseeing a future with him, Lise falls in love and the couple soon marry. Years later, having inherited Lise's gift, two of their children, Theresa and Jerome, must struggle to find their place within the community. But for Leo, their middle child, that is just the start of his worries. As he grows older and the chasm between himself and his family grows, Leo realizes that he doesn't belong to his family. While familial tensions mount and secrets are revealed, the Evans family come to see the monumental effect even the smallest spark can create. Based on the short story by Michael Crummey, Afterimage explores the connections built within both family and community, of finding a place to belong. Winner of the 2010 Governor General's Literary Award in Drama.

Afterplay

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

1920s Moscow, a small run-down café. Uncle Vanya's niece, Sonya Serebriakova, now in her forties, is the only customer. Until the arrival of Andrey Prozorov, the put-upon brother from Three Sisters.

Afterplay revisits the lives of two characters from Anton Chekhov's plays. It was first produced, with The Bear (also after Chekhov), at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

The Age of Consent

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Age of Consent places in counterpoint two acutely uncomfortable monologues about childhood, responsibility and the shattering of innocence.

One voice is a teenager awaiting his release from a correctional facility after serving his time for the murder of a child. The other is the young mother of a child performer, ruthlessly scheming for fame and fortune, and making sure her daughter will do absolutely whatever it takes.

The characters are united by a sense of denial, as well as the humanity that can exist behind even the most monstrous abuse. Morris’s controversial and powerful play premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001, and was condemned and acclaimed for tackling the subject of child killers.

Alaska

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Alaska is a tale of prejudice, sex and aggression, a portrait of unabashed racism.

The audience is introduced to Frank as a drug-dealing self-righteous History student. Having dropped out of university, he works at a cinema kiosk, where his colleagues are attracted to his tense and sullen manner. But brought into contact with Mamta, an Asian co-worker, he soon emerges as a hostile white supremacist, supporting his pseudo-intellectual prejudices by twisting history and quoting Biblical mistranslations. The play’s downward spiral of lies and violence unravels Frank’s desperation and obsession, and discusses identity and race in modern Britain.

The play was first performed at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2007.

Albert's Boy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Graham’s portrait of Einstein’s tortured conscience is delightfully tinged with both homely and black humour, in a play that is nonetheless deeply serious about questions of pacifism and necessity.

It is 1953 and Albert Einstein’s house is empty, his cat is missing, he can’t unify the fields of relativity and particle physics and he can’t escape his guilt. When a family friend, newly released from a POW camp, comes to visit, a warm reunion soon becomes a collision of opposing beliefs on the subjects of evil, the winning of wars and the construction of the atomic bomb. Albert’s Boy is both a fascinating biographical sketch and a passionate duet about the ethics of moral responsibility. The play premiered at the Finborough Theatre in 2005.

Alice Trilogy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Alice Trilogy is a haunting triptych of disappointment and gnawing sadness. Three acts, closer to monologues than conversations, show three ages in the life of Alice, an unhappy housewife.

1980, in the afternoon murk of her attic, with whiskey in her coffee, is she losing her grip on reality?

1995, she has summoned a lost love to meet her by the gasworks wall.

2005, at the airport, a tragedy presses to the surface of her internal monologue.

Alice is a mesmerising creation, existing only half in her domestic married life, and half in a dream-like world of alter-egos and strange detachment.

Alice Trilogy premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2005.

All the Ordinary Angels

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

All The Ordinary Angels is a comedy of treats and dirty tricks in the world of ice-cream, as a family business becomes a family feud.

When ice-cream man Giuseppe Raffa decides it’s finally time to come in from the cold and retire, he sets his two sons in competition with each other. The winner will gain the family business; the loser will be left with nothing. Supported and obstructed by Rocco’s wife Bernie and Lino’s girlfriend Lulu, their fight for the hearts and money of the people quickly becomes deadly serious. It is a lively and satirical story of love, competition and selling ice-cream in rainy Manchester.

All the Ordinary Angels premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 2005.

Almighty Voice and His Wife

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Almighty Voice and His Wife shakes up a familiar story from the Saskatchewan frontier, reimagining it from the postmodern late twentieth century. The “renegade Indian story” transforms into both an eloquent tale of tragic love and an often hilarious, fully theatrical exorcism of the hurts of history. A modern classic about the place of First Nations people in Canada.

The American Pilot

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A spy plane crash-lands in a remote valley in a distant country. The local villagers take in the wounded pilot and argue his fate. The American Pilot explores the way the world sees America and the way America sees the world.

The American Pilot premiered with the RSC at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, in April 2005.

Amongst Friends

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Journalist Lara and her ex-MP and crime-writer husband Richard are happy and successful. Having moved to a fashionable gated community they invite their old neighbours Caitlin and Joe to dinner. When the security system fails, the food is delivered by a stranger and the dinner party takes quite a different turn.

April De Angelis's darkly comic social satire Amongst Friends premiered at the Hampstead Theatre, London, in May 2009.

Amy's View

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

It is 1979. Esme Allen is a well-known West End actress at just the moment when the West End is ceasing to offer actors a regular way of life. The visit of her young daughter, Amy, with a new boyfriend sets in train a series of events which only find their shape eighteen years later. A generational play about the long term struggle between a strong mother and her loving daughter, Amy's View mixes love, death and the theatre in a way which is both heady and original.

Amy's View was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in June 1997, and transferred to the Aldwych Theatre in January 1998.

Andersen's English

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Celebrated children's writer Hans Christian Andersen arrives, unannounced, for a stay at Gad's Hill Place in the Kent marshes – home to Charles Dickens and his large, charismatic family.

To the lonely and eccentric guest, the members of Dickens' household seem to live a life of unreachable bliss. But with his broken English, Andersen doesn't at first see the storms brewing within the family: undeclared passions, a son about to go to India, and a growing strangeness at the heart of Dickens' marriage.

Andersen's English by Sebastian Barry premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bury, in February 2010 in a production by Out of Joint.

… And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Marcus Gardley’s And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi (2007), the world of the Civil War provides the setting in which Greek myth, talking trees, singing rivers, and a moonwalking Jesus combine to interrogate the politics of sex and the body.

By disregarding and distorting sacrosanct narratives and images of Christianity and American history, Gardley pushes us to rethink the lessons and limitations of these institutions vis-à-vis our contemporary moment. His inventive and brazen formal approach not only prompts such re-evaluations, but also frames an affecting story whose essence is one of longing, redemption, and forgiveness.

audio Anna in the Tropics

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This poignant and poetic Pulitzer Prize winning play captures 1929 Florida at a time when cigars are still rolled by hand and "lectors" are employed to educate and entertain the workers. The arrival of a new lector is a cause for celebration. But when he reads aloud from "Anna Karenina", he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics, and The American Dream prove a volatile combination.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance starring:

Jimmy Smits as Juan Julian

Onahoua Rodriguez as Marela

Adriana Sevan as Conchita

Alma Martinez as Ofelia

Jonathan Nichols as Palomo and Eliades

Winston Rocha as Santiago

Herbert Siguenza as Chéché

Directed by Jose Luis Valenzuela. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Alma Martinez, Jonathan Nichols, Winston Rocha, Onahoua Rodriguez, Adriana Sevan, Herbert Siguenza, Jimmy Smits

Anne Boleyn

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn is a dramatisation of the life and legacy of the notorious second wife of Henry VIII. It was first performed at Shakespeare's Globe, London, on 24 July 2010.

King James I, rummaging through the dead Queen Elizabeth’s possessions upon coming to the throne in 1603, finds alarming evidence that Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn, was a religious conspirator in love with Henry VIII but also with the most dangerous ideas of her day. Anne comes alive for him as a brilliant but reckless young woman confident in her sexuality, whose marriage and death transformed England forever. The potent love between Anne and Henry is so alive and electric that it cannot be contained in the stultifying social mores of the time, but is viewed with alarm by those at Court who fear the threat it poses to their position and influence.

The premiere at Shakespeare's Globe was directed by John Dove, with Miranda Raison as Anne Boleyn, James Garnon as King James and Anthony Howell as King Henry. It was well received by the critics, with the Daily Mail (not generally favourable to Left-leaning playwrights) commenting 'It takes a big, generous spirit to fill the Globe, and in this Brenton follows Shakespeare – not just with asides and soliloquies, but with a large colourful canvas.' The play was named Best New Play at the Whatsonstage.com Awards in 2011.

Anne Boleyn was revived at the Globe in 2011 and toured regionally in 2012 in a joint production between Shakespeare’s Globe and English Touring Theatre.

Another Door Closed

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Have you grown hard? Is that it? You were never hard then, you know. Just two spoiled daughters. Two little, selfish daughters. Two unemancipated daughters. Without her you have become hard, is that it? She was so soft, you see.

Two elderly sisters get an unexpected visit from a younger man. It appears, many years ago, the sisters' mother had been very kind to him.

Peter Gill's Another Door Closed premiered at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in August 2009.

Antebellum

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Robert O’Hara’s Antebellum bridges continents to highlight the intractability of love and the power of desire. Set in 1939, amid the cabarets and concentration camps of prewar Berlin and the plantations of post-Civil War Atlanta, the play uses seemingly unrelated historical events to explore the dynamic interplay of race, sexuality, and religion in the production of identity.

Antebellum employs a complex yet stirring hodgepodge of dramaturgical techniques, ranging from naturalistic to Brechtian, that evidence the formal complexities and heterodoxy of post-black dramaturgy.

Even more than he did in his earlier play Insurrection: Holding History (1996), O’Hara seamlessly melds the personal and the political to create a world that, by his own admission, is intimately connected to his own ‘relationship to life and to love’ but remains expansive and generous enough that his audiences might recognize and learn something about their own.

Antigone (trans. McCafferty)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Owen McCafferty's version of Sophocles’ Antigone is a muscular take on the ancient Greek tragedy that offers a reflection on the nature of power, democracy and human rights. It was first performed by Prime Cut Productions at the Waterfront Studio Hall, Belfast, in October 2008 as part of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival.

The play takes place in a huge hall within the palace of Creon, the new ruler of Thebes. The palace is in ruins after battle and, although the war has ended, with peace comes conflict. Antigone’s brother Polyneices lies on the battlefield where he fell, his burial outlawed by Creon. Antigone is determined to overrule him and attempts to persuade her sister, Ismene, to join her in rebellion against the king, but to no avail. When Creon discovers that Antigone has disobeyed him and buried her brother, she is captured, a decision that triggers a catastrophic chain reaction resulting in the double suicide of his son Haemon and wife Eurydice.

Sophocles’ tragedy has a powerful resonance in post-conflict Northern Ireland and this version is set entirely within the walls of a palace destroyed by war. Written in his distinctive style, McCafferty highlights the human frailties of these mythic characters by drawing attention to the family saga element of the story.

The Prime Cut Productions premiere was directed by Owen McCafferty and designed by Lorna Ritchie. It was performed by Walter McMonagle, Katy Ducker (as Antigone), Rosie McClelland, Ian McElhinney, Conor MacNeill, Paul Mallon, Harry Towb, Eoin McCafferty, Tom Loane, Chris Corrigan, Julia Dearden, Cat Barter, Barry Etherson and Matt Faris.

Any Which Way

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Stefan and Akin have known each other since childhood. But growing up, they grew apart. Now Akin lies dead. And Stefan walks through London's streets, trying to face up to what he's done.

Any Which Way opened at the Only Connect Theatre, London, in November 2008.

Apologia

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Alexi Kaye Campbell's second play, Apologia presents a disastrous family reunion as the occasion for a critical look at what has happened to 60s idealists and their children. It was first performed at the Bush Theatre, London, on 17 June 2009.

Kristin Miller is an eminent and successful art historian in her sixties. As a young mother she followed her politics and vocation, storming Parisian barricades and moving to Florence. Now she has written a book about her life – a book that fails to mention her two children, Peter and Simon. So when her sons and their partners, Trudi and Claire, gather at Kristin's cottage in the countryside to celebrate her birthday, she finds herself ambushed by their very different versions of the past. Over the course of the evening, everyone must confront the cost of Kristin’s commitment to her passions.

The Bush Theatre premiere was directed by Josie Rourke with Paolo Dionisotti as Kristin, Tom Beard as Peter, John Light as Simon, Sarah Goldberg as Trudi, Nina Sosanya as Claire and Philip Voss as Hugh, an old friend of Kristin's.

The play was well received by the critics, with several remarking on how it built on the promise of Campbell's previous play, The Pride. Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Campbell was 'fast emerging as a dramatist of rare distinction', while Henry Hitchings in The Evening Standard concluded that the play 'confirms his standing as a fresh and sensitive voice'.

Arabian Nights

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dominic Cooke's Arabian Nights is an inventive retelling of the classic tales. It was first performed at the Young Vic, London, on 16 November 1998.

It is wedding night in the palace of King Shahrayar. By morning, the new Queen Shahrazad is to be put to death like all the young brides before her. But she has one gift that could save her – the gift of storytelling. With her mischievous imagination, the young Queen spins her dazzling array of tales and characters, bringing them to life before the king: Ali Baba, Es-Sindibad the Sailor, Princess Parizade, adventurers in strange and magical worlds populated by giant beasts, talking birds, devilish ghouls and crafty thieves.

The six stories from the original collections featured in this version are: The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Story of the Little Beggar, The Story of Es-Sindibad the Sailor, How Abu Hassan Broke Wind, The Story of the Wife Who Wouldn’t Eat and The Story of the Envious Sisters. The framing story of Queen Shahrazad is retained throughout.

The Young Vic premiere was directed by Dominic Cooke. The play was revived, in a revised version, by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on 5 December 2009, also directed by Dominic Cooke, designed by Georgia McGuinness and with music by Gary Yershon.

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook is a drama created from the everyday realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The project began when the Caird Company sent the writer Robin Soans and directors Rima Brihi and Tim Roseman to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank in 2003. There they sampled a variety of dishes in homes, restaurants, shops and cafes and met dozens of people with different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs. Each person had a story to tell and a recipe to cook. Robin Soans has constructed a verbatim play from the words he collected. Arab and Israeli voices come together to bring insight and understanding to the melting pot of Middle Eastern affairs.

Ariel

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Fermoy Fitzgerald, a Irish midlands politician, haunted by the ghosts of the past and enthralled by dreams of the future, will sacrifice everything in pursuit of power – even the lives of his wife and family. On the day of his daughter Ariel's sixteenth birthday, he makes a terrifying bargain with God

Ariel was first performed at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in October 2002.

Aristo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Aristo, based on the life of the wealthy shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, is an explosive account of how those in positions of enormous power and wealth often live lives detached from the realities and moralities of everyday existence.

After a notorious affair with the opera singer Maria Callas, Onassis married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the US President John F. Kennedy, in 1968. Commented on by a gossiping Greek chorus, Aristo is a portrait of the complex and sometimes dark entanglements of their families, his relationships with Jacqueline and the scorned Maria, and the tragedy of his son Alexandros. Aristo, like Onassis himself, is charming, charismatic, and inescapably sinister.

Based in part on Peter Evans’ book Nemesis, Aristo premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2008.

Arthur & George

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

David Edgar's Arthur & George is a stage play based on Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize-nominated novel of the same name (first published in 2005), itself based on a real-life case in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes) found himself playing detective. The play takes the form of a detective thriller that raises questions about guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race. It was first performed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 19 March 2010 in a coproduction with Nottingham Playhouse.

In 1903, Birmingham solicitor George Edalji was found guilty of a series of brutal attacks on farm animals, known as the Great Wyrley Outrages. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour. Desperate to prove his innocence, he recruited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world famous detective Sherlock Holmes, to help solve his mysterious case and win him a pardon.

Edgar restructures Barnes's story. He starts with a meeting between Conan Doyle and Edalji that took place after the latter's prison sentence had been commuted, although his conviction remained intact. Through flashbacks, we learn the details of the case: how Edalji, his Parsee-born vicar father and his Scottish mother had been subjected to a campaign of sustained intimidation. We also learn how the sober, industrious Edalji had been accused of being part of the Great Wyrley gang that brutalised local cattle, and of being the source of the poison-pen letters to his own family. Conan Doyle determines to clear Edalji's name and, assuming the mantle of Sherlock Holmes, uncover the true culprits.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production was directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Ruari Murchison, with Adrian Lukis as Arthur and Chris Nayak as George. Other members of the cast were Richard Attlee, William Beck, Simon Coates, Daniel Crowder, Kirsty Hoiles and Anneika Rose.

The production subsequently transferred to Nottingham Playhouse, with performances there from 22 April 2010.

The Ash Girl

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

When an invitation to The Ball arrives at the Ash girl's house, from Prince Amir, she can't bring herself to believe that she, like her sisters, can go. With her mother dead and her father away, she must learn to fight the monsters that have slithered and insinuated their way into her heart and mind. In this wondrous drama Timberlake Wertenbaker explores the beauty and terror inherent in growing up.

The Ash Girl premiered at Birmingham Rep in 2001.

audio August: Osage County

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play, Tracy Letts' darkly comic epic offers a painfully funny look at a family struggling in the desolate heart of America.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast recording, featuring members of the original Steppenwolf Theatre and Broadway productions: Tara Lynne Barr, Shannon Cochran, Deanna Dunagan (Tony Award®, Best Leading Actress), Kimberly Guerrero, Francis Guinan, Scott Jaeck, Ron Livingston, Robert Maffia, Mariann Mayberry, Rondi Reed (Tony Award®, Best Featured Actress), and David Warshofsky.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo. Recorded by L.A. Thetare Works before a live audience.

Featuring: Tara Lynne Barr, Shannon Cochran, Rosemarie DeWitt, Deanna Dunagan, Kimberly Guerrero, Francis Guinan, Scott Jaeck, Ron Livingston, Robert Maffia, Mariann Mayberry, Robert Pine, Rondi Reed, David Warshofsky

The Bacchae

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

One of the greatest of all Greek tragedies – savage, comic and intensely lyrical – The Bacchae powerfully dramatises the conflict between the emotional and rational sides of the human psyche. The magnetic young Dionysus – icon, hedonist, god – returns home with his cult of female followers to exact his revenge, unleashing the full force of female sexuality on the city.

David Greig's version of The Bacchae premiered at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, in August 2007 in a co-production between the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland.

audio Bad Axe

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The story of a woman accused of murdering her husband at a military outpost in the Old West. Did hostile Indians force her to scalp him as revenge for his brutality, or did she kill him out of frustration with her plight as a soldier’s wife?

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring John Castellanos, Harry Hamlin, Amy Irving, Peter Jacobs and Jessica Walter.

Recorded before a live audience.

Featuring: John Castellanos, Harry Hamlin, Amy Irving, Peter Jacobs, Jessica Walter

The Basement Flat

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Rona Munro's The Basement Flat is a short play for two performers, an unsettling depiction of daily life in a disturbing world not too far in the future. It was commissioned by and first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 13 August 2009 as part of The World is Too Much breakfast play series at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The play is set in the basement flat of a house once owned by Fiona and Stephen, but which they have been forced to sell. They are now tenants, fearfully renting the flat from their new landlord, who used to be their tenant, and who now paces the floor above their heads. Where once he lovingly cared for the window boxes, he now plans to install a security fence and, furthermore, to bill Fiona and Stephen for it. On top of that the couple’s daughter seems to be living in the overgrown jungle of the garden and outside, although they're too frightened even to search for her.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Roxana Silbert, with Cora Bissett as Fiona and Matthew Pidgeon as Stephen.

The Bear (after Chekhov)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Elena Popova, a young and attractive widow, has immersed herself in the role of mourning for her once philandering late husband. Luka, her frail and ancient man-servant, tries in vain to snap her out of it. Then Smirnov barges in.

The Bear (after Chekhov) was first produced, with Afterplay, at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in March 2002.

Beauty and the Beast (adapt. Kirkwood)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Lucy Kirkwood's delightful version of the classic fairytale, first seen in a production devised and directed by Katie Mitchell at the National Theatre for Christmas 2010.

The theft of a single rose has monstrous consequences for Beauty and her father. Because this is no ordinary rose... and this is no ordinary fairytale. Narrated by a pair of mischievous fairies, a very helpful Rabbit, and a Thoughtsnatcher machine, this timeless story is sure to surprise, delight and enchant.

A wild and twisted tale, full of exciting and intriguing challenges for drama groups wishing to stage their own production.

Beauty and the Beast (adapt. Way)

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A play about overcoming fear, where the subconscious world is represented through imagery and movement. The play begins with a startling dream sequence and then segues into the drawing-room world of a Jane Austen novel, before moving to the wilds of Dartmoor. 'All the ingredients of the classic fairytale with the added dimension of rounded characters who are flawed human beings.’ Manchester Evening News

Beaver

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

In a white trash, northern Ontario gothic, we follow Beatrice ‘Beaver’ Jersey as she learns to grow beyond her circumscribed world, struggling with her whacky extended family, her alcoholic father, and her chain-smoking ghost of a mother.

Bedbound

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Enda Walsh's play bedbound is a two-hander about a father/daughter relationship gone horribly wrong. It was first performed at The New Theatre, Dublin, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival 2000. It received its UK premiere at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, during the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and was revived at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, on 10 January 2002.

The play's action takes place on a small child's bed inside a plasterboard box that occupies the centre of the stage. At the beginning of the play, one wall of the box – the one that faces the audience – crashes to the ground, revealing Daughter and Dad, both of them on the bed. He talks frantically about his extraordinary past in furniture sales; she talks no less compulsively about anything at all, to fill the terrifying silence in her head. Trapped in their own claustrophobic story, these two tortured creatures attempt to reach some kind of redemption.

The premiere production at The New Theatre in Dublin was directed by Enda Walsh and designed by Fiona Cunningham. It was performed by Peter Gowan and Norma Sheahan. The production was revived at the Traverse Theatre and then at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs with Liam Carney playing Dad.

In his foreword to the collection Enda Walsh Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2011), Walsh writes: 'bedbound was my first effort away from Pat [Kiernan, director, Corcadorca Theatre Company] and towards myself. It’s essentially about the relationship between me and my dad. It’s wild but also very honest. A love letter to my sick dad at the time.'

Being Norwegian

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Sean, just out of prison, invites Lisa back to his flat for a drink. Lisa says she's Norwegian. Is Sean Norwegian too? In this dark, funny encounter two outsiders reach out to each other across the deep fjords of the heart.

'In Norway we're used to darkness in people's heads. We even prefer it. Because if there is no darkness then what in heaven's name are you thinking about? We Norwegians think people who are happy are perhaps just a little above themselves, don't you?'

Being Norwegian was first broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in December 2003 and first performed for the stage, in a coproduction between A Play, a Pie and a Pint and Paines Plough, at Òran Mór, Glasgow, in October 2007.

audio Beloved Clara

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

In Beloved Clara, the intense relationships between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara, and Johannes Brahms are brought to vivid life through music and excerpts from their passionate writings. With the arrival of the young, dynamic Brahms into their household, the Schumanns’ fragile marriage is threatened by the deepening bond between Clara and their gifted guest. “This is a beautifully put - together portrait…Kleenex required” says The Guardian (London).

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Rosalind Ayres, Martin Jarvis and Lucy Parham.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Martin Jarvis, Lucy Parham

Be My Baby

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Amanda Whittington’s debut play Be My Baby sheds light on teenage pregnancy in 60s Britain. Featuring an all-female cast the play has proved incredibly popular with schools and drama groups across the UK and is currently a set text for GCSE English Literature.

Set in a Mother and Baby Home in 1964 in the north of England, the play follows the fortunes of Mary Adams, aged 19, unmarried and seven months pregnant. Forcibly sent there by a mother intent on keeping up appearances, Mary – along with the other girls in the home – has to cope both with the shame and the dawning realisation that she will have to give the baby up for adoption whether she likes it or not. Despite this, and an overbearing matron, the girls’ youthful effervescence keeps breaking through, as they sing along to the girl-group songs of the period.

Commissioned by Soho Theatre, the play started out as a story of a grown woman meeting her adopted child. However, as Whittington began to research she came across the story of Britain’s Mother and Baby Homes. These homes were a well-kept secret that nonetheless blighted the lives of thousands of young women to whom Whittington has given a voice in this play.

Be My Baby was first performed by the Soho Theatre Company at the Pleasance Theatre in London in 1998. Since its initial production, the play has been revived many times including at the Soho Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, Oldham Coliseum, New Vic Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre.

Be Near Me

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Father David Anderton is assigned to a crippled Scottish town on the Ayrshire coast, where sectarianism is rife. He is a cultivated, if naive and unworldly, man, ill-suited to his new parish. Drifting from his peers, he is drawn to Mark and Lisa, a feral teenage couple who attend the nearby school. Their untamed nights of booze and drugs are as exotic and entrancing to him as his solitary and cloistered life is to them.

But, as events take a perilous direction, this combustible liaison will leave Father David's world in pieces.

Adapted for the stage by Ian McDiarmid from the Booker Prize nominated novel by Andrew O'Hagan, Be Near Me premiered in a co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and the Donmar Warehouse in January 2009.

audio The Best of Second City

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Take an unforgettable ride with the classic sketches that helped make this America’s foremost comedy troupe. The Second City lampoons every aspect of modern American life, with brilliant improvised sketches on subjects ranging from salad bars to affairs of state.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Fran Adams, Scott Adsit, Scott Allman, Edward Asner, Samantha Bennett, Jennifer Bill, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Arye Gross, Jenn Jolovitz, Tim Kazurinsky, Laura Krafft, Joe Liss, Marsha Mason, Michael McCarthy, Jerry Minor, Tim O'Malley, David Razowsky, Mitch Rouse, John Rubano, Ruth Rudnick, Amy Sedaris, Brian Stack, Jill Talley, Miriam Tolan, Nia Vardalos, Ron West, Peter Zahradnick and Jim Zulevic.

Featuring: Fran Adams, Scott Adsit, Scott Allman, Edward Asner, Samantha Bennett, Jennifer Bill, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Arye Gross, Jenn Jolovitz, Tim Kazurinsky, Laura Krafft, Joe Liss, Marhsa Mason, Michael McCarthy, Jerry Minor, Tim O'Malley, David Razowsky, Mitch Rouse, John Rubano, Ruth Rudnick, Amy Sedaris, Brian Stack, Jill Talley, Miriam Tolan, Nia Vardalos, Ron West, Peter Zahradnick, Jim Zulevic

audio Betrayed

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Based on the journalist-playwright’s original article in The New Yorker, Betrayed is the story of three young Iraqi translators who risk everything for America's promise of freedom while their country collapses around them. “The clarity of the writing, the urgency of the story being told … give the play a sharp dramatic impact and a plain-spoken beauty. Painful human experience is presented here as just that. Nothing else is necessary to awaken sympathy, despair and awareness of a grave moral failure on the part of the American government.” - New York Post

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jeremy Beck, Kevin Daniels, Andrea Gabriel, John Getz, Sevan Greene, Sam Kanater and Waleed F. Zuaiter.

Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Jeremy Beck, Kevin Daniels, Andrea Gabriel, John Getz, Sevan Greene, Sam Kanater, Waleed F. Zuaiter

B for Baby

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

B for Baby is a tender, sharp-witted play set in a residential care home for people with severe learning disabilities. Treating this taboo subject with humanity and humour, the play's acute and compassionate portraits result in a moving, if at times uncomfortable, drama.

Mrs C wants a baby not a Christmas tree. B wants a real hairdresser's scissors and a wife. D wants a snow globe and to have curly hair. All of them want their own place in the world. And if they can't find it, they'll create one of their own. The play follows B and D, and Mrs C their carer, on their journey towards happiness.

Poignantly exploring forbidden topics, B for Baby invites the reader or audience to rediscover the power and joy of make-believe. The play was first presented by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 2010.

Billy Twinkle

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Standing at the edge of the ship, contemplating a watery demise, Billy is called back to reality when his dead mentor, Sid Diamond, appears as a handpuppet. Sid forces Billy to re-enact his life as a puppet show, rekindling the passion Billy once had for puppets, people and the dream of a life that sparkles. For anyone stuck in the middle – mid-career, mid-love, mid-life – this requiem for a golden boy shines a little light on the wonder of youth meeting the wisdom of age.

Billy Wonderful

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A play about fathers, sons and football, Billy Wonderful is a fast-paced coming-of-age play pulsing with all the excitement and physicality of match-day.

As one-time boy wonder Billy Walters relives his debut in a Merseyside derby at the age of nineteen, ninety minutes cut across twenty-two years and fellow players become family and friends, enemies and lovers. Both Billy and the play are consumed by football: match commentators hover over his life, and fans shout their chants over the scenes. Billy flickers between an eager and hopeful child, self-satisfied young man convinced he is at the top of his game, and a slightly older but disillusioned drifter, desperate not to miss out on his dream and end up like his father.

Billy Wonderful is a captivating story of fame and fortune, disappointment and family. The play premiered at the Liverpool Everyman in 2009.

Birdboy

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

On an ancient fortress, two boys swear a pact of friendship. Eddie and Tim create their own den up on the Knoll, a secret place for heroes. The only problem is, winter is setting in and Eddie won't come down. As the snow falls, Tim must decide whether to take food to Eddie or betray him by telling the grown ups where he is. It is a play about transitions from childhood to adolescence, from loner to friend.

Blackbird

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Fifteen years ago Una and Ray had a relationship.

They haven't set eyes on each other since.

Now, years later, she's found him again.

Blackbird premiered at King's Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, in August 2005, and transferred to the Albery Theatre in London's West End in 2006. The production received the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. In 2007, the play opened simultaneously at the Manhattan Theater Club in New York and at American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco.

Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Black Diamond (2007), J. Nicole Brooks interrogates contemporary connections and discontinuities between the Africans in Liberia and African Americans in the United States. Set in 1999, the play opens in the middle of the second Liberian civil war, which eventually resulted in the overthrow of brutal despot Charles Taylor and his arrest as a war criminal. At issue in this drama is the question of what should be the responsibility of the United States to this war-torn African state racked by genocidal atrocities and human rights violations.

After all, Liberia has a unique bond to the United States, beginning in 1827 when former black slaves from the United States attempted to settle Liberia. At the centre of her drama, Brooks places an African American journalist sent by the BBC to cover the war story. As Americans and the world turn a seemingly deaf ear toward the suffering in Liberia, this journalist faces his own life-altering questions as to his duty to his profession and his obligation as a black man to this intra-racial conflict.

Fast-paced and episodic in structure, Black Diamond’s eclectic form also rubs up against convention, assaulting the audience’s senses as moments of flashback clash against burlesque enactments, docudrama narrativization, and rap music interludes. The play’s structure informs its content. The contrasts and incongruities in style underscore the contradictory cultural politics at play within this catastrophic African struggle. By depicting rebel soldiers that associate their own brutality and swagger with the urban cool of African American hip hop, Brooks’ play showcases the complications and ambiguities of black cultural traffic, the flow and, importantly, the friction of black imagery.

With its structural hybridity and diverse representations of blackness, Black Diamond enacts the post-black.

Blackout

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Anderson's note on the play tells us that 'Blackout is based on a true story. It was told to me by a young man called Peter over several cups of tea.

'When I spoke to him, Peter was serving a probation sentence for attempted murder. He committed the crime when he was fifteen years old and was lucky not to be in jail. I didn't really know what to expect before I met him, but Peter wasn't at all what I expected. He was funny, articulate, thoughtful, passionate, a bit cheeky. More than anything he had this burning desire to communicate. So I took his words and turned them into a short monologue. Then I gave him a copy to take home. He said he was going to read it carefully and come back to me with corrections. Next time I saw him, he told me he'd read the text out loud to his mum and that she'd cried. He also told me I got the name of his sword wrong.'

Blackout is the true story of a 15-year-old boy charged with attempted murder who tries to piece together the events in his life that have brought him into a secure care unit and threaten to keep him there. This short play packs a big emotional punch with its stylistic economy and razor-sharp storytelling.

Commissioned by the Royal National Theatre for NT Connections it was originally performed in the Cottesloe Theatre in July 2008. ThickSkin's production of the play won the Arches Brick Award, 2010, at the Edinburgh Festival before embarking on a tour of the UK.

Bliss

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Bliss is Caryl Churchill's translation of French-Canadian writer Olivier Choinière's play Felicité, exploring modern society’s obsessions with celebrity and its impact on private lives. It was first performed in this translation at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, London, on 28 March 2008.

A Wal-Mart cashier and her fellow workers flick through celebrity gossip magazines and talk about Céline, a local girl who is now a famous singer (the character is strongly identified with real-life singer Céline Dion). But when they come across some ominous headlines about the star, they begin prying into the potential reasons behind her recent shrinking from the spotlight. At the same time they tell the story of Isabelle, Céline’s biggest fan,who, after being abused and tortured by her own family, has come to work at Wal-Mart.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins and designed by Jeremy Herbert, and performed by Brid Brennan, Hayley Carmichael, Neil Dudgeon and Justin Salinger.

Bloody Wimmin

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Lucy Kirkwood’s Bloody Wimmin is a short play written for the Tricycle Theatre’s Women, Power and Politics season, staged at the Tricycle, London, in June–July 2010. The play examines the impact of the 1980s Greenham Common protests and the fight for nuclear disarmament. It was first performed at the Tricycle on 4 June 2010, in rep with short plays by Marie Jones, Moira Buffini and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

It’s 1984 and the peace camp at Greenham Common is in full swing. Mother-to-be Helen is torn between her commitment to the cause of nuclear disarmament and her expectant husband back home. Twenty-five years later and her now adult son, James, is an environmental activist, railing against what he perceives as sexual exploitation in the way the media is covering their protests.

The Tricycle Theatre production was directed by Indhu Rubasingham with a cast including Niamh Cusack, Stella Gonet and Kika Markham.

The Blue Light

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Leni Riefenstahl, 100 years old, is in the office of a young female Hollywood studio executive. Leni's reason to be there is clear: to make one last desperate pitch to direct her first feature film in 50 years. A thought-provoking contemplation on art, politics, and the seduction of fascism, and a theatrical examination of a woman who danced one perfect dance with the devil and forever changed the way films are made. Leni Riefenstahl was one of the most remarkable and controversial women of the 20 century. Dancer, actor, photographer, and filmmaker, Riefenstahl caught the eye of Adolf Hitler with her prodigious first film: The Blue Light. A cinematic innovator, her decision to direct Triumph of the Will, got her blacklisted as a filmmaker until her death in 2003 at 101, unrepentant and mostly forgotten.

audio Boats on a River

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

American expatriate Sidney Webb and Sister Margaret, his British colleague, work tirelessly to rehabilitate Cambodian children from the nightmare of prostitution. After a surprise raid on a brothel, an eager young U.S. lawyer places three liberated orphans under Sidney and the Sister’s care. The girls begin the inspirational process of recovery under the loving watch of their new protectors. An excitingly original script by an emerging American playwright.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Samantha Abrigo, John Cabrera, Gregory Itzin, Jane Le, Amy Sara Lim, Emily Liu, William Mapother, Jenny O'Hara, Michelle Ongkingco, Elizabeth Pan and Keo Woolford.

Featuring: Samantha Abrigo, John Cabrera, Gregory Itzin, Jane Le, Amy Sara Lim, Emily Liu, William Mapother, Jenny O'Hara, Michelle Ongkingco, Elizabeth Pan, Keo Woolford

Bob’s Your Elf

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

An elf named Bob gets banished from the North Pole to learn a lesson about cooperation. Because of his bad attitude, Santa sends him to a small town to help out with their Christmas pageant. Here, Bob is faced with a group of bumbling actors who are doing their best to put on the greatest darn Christmas show their town has ever seen.

The Bomb

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A topical play about terrorism and its aftermath. Inspired by Jo Berry, whose father was killed in the 1984 Brighton bomb and Patrick Magee who planted that bomb. In 2000, they met for the first time to promote understanding and conflict resolution. They have continued their dialogue ever since. At 16, she was shell-shocked and caught in the blast. Now the bomber's waiting on the other side of the door. The Bomb is a journey into the minds of two extraordinary people – one who destroys lives, the other who forgives the unforgivable.

Bone

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Three people. Stephen wants his ex to realise he's got what it takes. Helen wants her dead husband back. Jamie wants a girl to see him off to war. Three lives stripped bare in a modern world.

Bone premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in September 2004.

Bone Cage

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Jamie is 22 years old and works 12-hour shifts operating a wood processor, clear-cutting for pulp. At the end of each shift, he walks through the destruction he has created looking for injured birds and animals and rescues those he can. Jamie's desire to escape this world is thwarted by his fear of leaving the place where he has some status.

Bone Cage examines how young people in rural communities, employed in the destruction of the environment they love, treat the people they love at the end of their shift. Bone Cage is about the difficulty in growing and hanging on to dreams in a world where dreams are seen as impractical or weak. It is funny. It is tragic. It is about different kinds of escaping. It is about a soul trapped in its own rib cage, a cage of bone, a bone cage. Winner of the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama

Born

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Born is a tragic epic for the twenty-first century. In it Edward Bond examines violence and terror in a dehumanised world in the terse and broken language of extreme deprivation.

Peter and Donna and a baby have moved in to a new house. The removal men have broken a mug. Twenty years later, the street is being evacuated, people piled into trucks – Peter and Donna are ejected from the room, one suitcase each. They are afraid for their son Luke, but he puts on a uniform and joins the fighting, asking questions of an ailing and silent world.

Born was first staged at the Avignon Festival in 2006. It is the third play in Bond’s The Paris Pentad (originally called The Colline Tetralogy), preceded by The Crime of the Twenty-First Century and Coffee, and followed by People and Innocence.

born bad

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

debbie tucker green's born bad is an intensely theatrical play about a vicious family dispute. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre on 29 April 2003.

Dawta wants the family to talk. Furious, she calls out each member of her family, demanding they join in her outrage or, at the very least, recognise it. Some long-ago horror has occurred, and she demands information from her sisters, her mother and her brother. Meanwhile, the perpetrator – Dad – stays nearly silent.

The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Kathy Burke and designed by Jonathan Fensom, with Jenny Jules as Dawta, Sharlene Whyte as Sister 1, Nadine Marshall as Sister 2, Alibe Parsons as Mum, Nicholas Pinnock as Brother and Ewart James Walters as Dad.

The play won debbie tucker green the Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer in 2004 and was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Bound  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

A tragedy of maritime decline, Bound follows the fortunes of six trawlermen from Devon as they embark on one final voyage. Compelled by the threat of bankruptcy, the ageing fishing trawler The Violet is forced out into treacherous weather. Risking storms, friendships and relationships ashore, will the crew lose more than a way of life?

Bound by Jesse Britton premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009, where it was awarded a fringe First amongst other awards. It has since toured in the UK and Australia, where it won the Adelaide Advertiser Critics Circle Award 2010.

Brewers Fayre

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

David Greig: Plays 1 brings together four key plays by the playwright described by the Daily Telegraph as 'one of the most interesting and adventurous British dramatists of his generation'.

In Outlying Island two young Cambridge ornithologists are sent to a remote island. Together with its authoritarian leaseholder and his niece they observe an innocence that is about to be destroyed forever. San Diego offers a strange and occasionally nightmarish journey into the heart of the contemporary American dream, weaving together stories of illegal immigrants, of film stars and whores, and even of the playwright himself. Pyrenees follows a man found lying in the snow in the foothills as he tries to piece together his identity. In The American Pilot a crash-landing in a remote valley in a distant country raises questions about how the world sees America and how America sees the world.

The collection also includes a trilogy of short plays, Being Norwegian, Kyoto and Brewers Fayre, published here for the first time.

Outlying Island

'I can't recommend it highly enough . A rich, charged play, veering between the comic and the poetic as innocence gives way to experience.' Telegraph

San Diego

'A surreal and intriguing piece of theatre . dazzling . Home and awake from the mythical dream that is San Diego, the name David Greig remains imprinted on our minds.' Independent

Pyrenees

'All the wit and intelligence of previous works, probing away at concerns that are both contemporary and timeless...A classy, rewarding, engaging drama, Greig's best to date.' The Times

The American Pilot

'One of the most intellectually stimulating dramatists around. A richly provocative new play.' Guardian

Brief Encounter

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Your heart dances. The world seems strange and new. You want to laugh and skip and fall forever… You are in love. You are in love with the wrong person. Laura, the respectable suburban wife, and Alec, the idealistic, married doctor, meet in a station buffet, fall passionately in love but are doomed never to find fulfilment.

David Lean's iconic 1945 movie, Brief Encounter, was written by Noël Coward and was based on one of his one-act plays, Still Life, written a decade earlier. This version for the stage was adapted by Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre Company, bringing this timeless tale of joy and heartache into the theatre. Also included within the romantic action are nine songs originally written by Coward.

Kneehigh’s production Brief Encounter was first presented by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Cineworld at the Cinema Haymarket on 2 February 2008.

Bulrusher

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Eisa Davis’s Pulitzer Prize- nominated play Bulrusher (2006), set in 1955, is a coming-of-age narrative in which the title character, abandoned as a baby and taken in by strangers, navigates a world where she finds herself increasingly outside the mainstream of Boonville, California, the small country town where she was raised.

When a black visitor from Alabama arrives in the town, Bulrusher begins to confront the norms and attitudes that she and those in her town take for granted. Through her encounter with this young black woman from the south, Bulrusher comes into a new sexual and racial consciousness. Eventually, she even learns the identity of her mother and father. Bulrusher undergoes her own kind of psychological, intellectual, and emotional homecoming throughout the play – although she never leaves Boonville.

Through Bulrusher, Davis asks us to consider how we might locate home, its significance in the making of identity, and who constitutes ‘family’ in the first place: those with whom we are reared or those who accept us without condition or pretense.

Bulrusher received its world premiere at Urban Stages/Playwrights’ Preview Productions in New York in March 2006.

audio Bunbury

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

What if Blanche Dubois didn't go crazy? Or the Three Sisters actually made it to Moscow? When he discovers he's only a fictitious, never seen character in a Oscar Wilde play, Bunbury joins forces with Rosaline, Romeo's never-seen obsession from Romeo and Juliet. Together they infiltrate and alter classic literature, including giving Romeo and Juliet a happy ending.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jean Gilpin, Kathryn Hahn, Melinda Page Hamilton, Peter Paige, Amanda Rowan, Orlando Seale, Andre Sogliuzzo, John Vickery and Matthew Wolf.

Featuring: Jean Gilpin, Kathryn Hahn, Melinda Page Hamilton, Peter Paige, Amanda Rowan, Orlando Seale, Andre Sogliuzzo, John Vickery, Matthew Wolf

Bunny

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's Bunny is a coming-of-age drama for a solo female performer that tackles teenage sexuality, racism and gang culture. It was first produced by nabokov and Escalator East to Edinburgh in association with Watford Palace Theatre and Mercury Theatre, Colchester, at Underbelly Cowgate at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on 5 August 2010.

The play's action is narrated by eighteen-year-old Katie, an ordinary girl from Luton who plays clarinet in the orchestra and is applying for a place at university. When her boyfriend Abe, a black 24 year old, gets involved in a violent street altercation following a perceived racial slight, the situation escalates alarmingly. Katie finds herself in a car riding across the city as Abe and his mates Jake and Asif attempt a revenge attack. Amidst the baying for blood and the longing for love and excitement, Katie is forced to decide her future.

In his introduction to Jack Thorne Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2014), Thorne writes: 'Bunny is my love note to Luton [where he lived for a number of years]. ... My local Post Office was run by a Pakistani gentleman, and twice I was standing in the queue behind two different young kids, looking quite confused about life, wearing English Defence League tops. The strange thing is, both were polite to the Pakistani shopkeeper, and he was polite back. I wanted to tell a story about that racial complication. How it’s not about race per se, but something much more intricate than that.'

The premiere production was directed by Joe Murphy and designed by Hannah Clark. It was performed by Rosie Wyatt, and featured projected line drawings by Jenny Turner (reproduced in the playtext). The production won a Fringe First Award and subsequently toured the UK from June 2011 before a run at Soho Theatre, London, in October 2011.

audio The Busy World is Hushed

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

With wisdom, humor and insight, The Busy World is Hushed examines the contradictions we find in our faith, our families and ourselves. Hannah, a widowed Episcopal minister, is hoping to translate a long-lost gospel when she is challenged by both her scholarly assistant and her wayward gay son. But when family secrets are revealed, only the intercession of a stranger can help Hannah find peace.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Jill Clayburgh, Hamish Linklater and Luke MacFarlane.

Featuring: Jill Clayburgh, Hamish Linklater, Luke MacFarlane

By the Bog of Cats

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Set in the mysterious landscape of the bogs of rural Ireland, Carr's lyrical and timeless play tells the story of Hester Swane, an Irish traveller with a deep and unearthly connection to her land. Tormented by the memory of a mother who deserted her, Hester is once again betrayed, this time by the father of her child, the man she loves. On the brink of despair, she embarks on a terrible journey of vengeance as the secrets of her tangled history are revealed.

By the Bog of Cats premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, in 1998. It was revived at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in November 2004.

Caledonia

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

William Paterson was a financial adventurer who devised one of the most daring and disastrous speculations of all time. His plan: to found a Scottish colony on Darien in Central America and turn Scotland, one of the poorest nations in Europe, into a colonial power. He invited the public to invest. And they did – in a big way. Within weeks a vast proportion of the nation’s wealth had been subscribed.

The plan went wrong though, and badly so, so that, within a few years, the Scots – demoralised and impoverished – were forced to give up their nation’s independent status and sign the 1707 Treaty of Union with England.

Inspired by documents, journals, letters, songs and poems of the period, Caledonia is both a tribute to heroic ambition and a darkly witty take on the deceptions and self-deceptions of rich and poor alike. It was first performed at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, on 21st August 2010, in a co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Canary

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In 1960s Liverpool Tom and Billy hide their love in the closet, then go their separate ways. As pits close and the dole queues grow, Mickey and Russell escape to find Heaven in 1980s London. But today the paparazzi turn judge and jury over a love story that could tear this family apart. Then a grieving mother gets lost up a mountain, with a vicar for some dubious consolation.

A deeply moving, funny, uplifting and often magical story about love, honesty and being brave enough to sing out at the top of your voice. With style.

Canary premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse on 23 April 2010 in a production by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, English Touring Theatre and Hampstead Theatre.

Care Takers

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Ms Lawson, a new teacher at Newall South High School, believes Jamie Harrow is being bullied because he's gay. She wants to help but Mrs Rutter, the Deputy Head, thinks it will sort itself out. Is Mrs Rutter speaking from experience or is there something more unsavoury about her uncaring attitude? A battle royale occurs between youthful idealism and the system that evolves to choke it.

Most plays that deal with homophobia in schools look at the children in the playground, but what happens when the people in charge of our children are homophobic? Care Takers is an intense two-hander that follows a new teacher who tries to do something about one of her pupils who is being bullied for being gay.

Homophobia remains a fault-line in our society and especially in our multicultural, inner-city schools where original research undertaken by writer Billy Cowan showed these tensions are still very real. The play shows how complicated things have become for teachers in these schools when it comes to dealing with homophobic bullying, and how vulnerable young gay people still are in these environments – especially if the system gets in the way of their safety.

Includes Teachers' Resources to aid structured discussion and exploration of the themes raised in schools, colleges and beyond. Care Takers is part of an Edge Hill University (Birmingham, UK) research project on homophobia; and can be used as a source text for all those interested in the impact of creative practices in health, psychological well-being and enhancing social inclusion of people (hospitals, social and community centres, mental health centres, schools, and museums).

Casanova

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Suspect Culture's Casanova follows the travels of an internationally renowned artist who is curating the final exhibition of his illustrious career: an account of his life as the world's greatest lover. As the exhibition nears completion and the opening in his home town approaches, a cuckolded husband's plan to avenge the loss of his wife also draws to a close.

Raising questions about love, honesty and life lived in the pursuit of pleasure, Casanova is an uncompromising examination of contemporary sex and morality.

Casanova premiered at Tron Theatre, Glasgow, in February 2001.

Category B

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Category B is a sharp and hard-hitting play about the brutal power structures of prison life. It is set in a Category B prison, where all offenders are placed after they are first convicted: it is tough, and dangerous, and compelling.

Inside C Wing, Thames Gate Prison, it’s the screws that have the keys, but all too often it’s the prisoners that have the power. Saul is the con in charge: prisoners follow his rules, the officers turn the occasional blind eye, and everything runs smoothly. But his number two position is vacant, new inmates are flooding in, and things are getting tense. Meanwhile Angela is training her replacement, a crash course in keeping the aggression of an overcrowded ward at bay. And new inmate Rio is ready prove he’s as tough as the rest of them, but the volatile Errol is keeping an eye on him, for reasons of his own. Category B offers a chilling insight into the treachery and manipulation that prop up the prison walls from the inside.

Williams's play was first performed as part of the ‘Not Black and White’ season at the Tricycle Theatre, London, in 2009.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle (trans. McGuinness)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Written in exile in the United States during the Second World War The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a politically charged, much-revived and complex example of Brecht’s epic theatre.

In a prologue set in Soviet Georgia, a narrator-figure called The Singer introduces the story of choice and sacrifice. The servant girl Grusha sacrifices everything she has to look after an abandoned child, even marrying a dying peasant in order to provide for him. But when the boy’s biological mother attempts to reclaim him, the unruly judge Azdak, one of Brecht’s most vivid creations, calls on the ancient tradition of the chalk circle to resolve the dispute. Brecht subverts an ancient Chinese story (echoed in the Judgement of Solomon) into a parable advocating that resources should go to those best able to make use of them.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle was first performed in 1948 by students at Northfield, Minnesota in Eric and Maja Bentley’s translation, and has since become one of his most popular works. A morality masterpiece, the play powerfully demonstrates Brecht's pioneering theatrical techniques.

This version by Frank McGuinness was published to coincide with the National Theatre's production which toured the UK in 2007.

Celestina

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fernando de Rojas's Celestina, originally known as the Tragicomedy of Calisto and Melibea (Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea), is a work that is neither truly a play nor a novel, but something of both. First published in 1499, it comprises a series of dialogues that tell the story of a noble bachelor, Calisto, who uses the services of Celestina, the madam of a local brothel, to help him seduce Melibea, a beautiful young woman being kept in seclusion by her parents. Using all her wiles, and with the help of two greedy servants, Celestina goes about weaving her spells, with tragic results.

The original work is generally considered too lengthy to work satisfactorily on the stage: it would run to something like nine hours. But it has been performed in abbreviated versions written for the stage, and has come to be known after its famous central character, the procuress Celestina (in Spain, La Celestina).

This translation by John Clifford was published by Nick Hern Books in its Drama Classics series in 2004, and was first performed at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh, on 16 August 2004, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The production was directed by Calixto Bieito, with Kathryn Hunter in the role of Celestina.

Chatroom

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Enda Walsh's Chatroom is a play about manipulation, cyberbullying and adolescent insecurity. It was first performed as part of the 2005 National Theatre Connections season, an annual festival of new plays for youth theatres and schools. It received its first professional production in the Cottesloe auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 10 March 2006.

The play's action takes place in a staged representation of the virtual space of an internet chatroom. A group of bored and restless teenagers – William, Jack, Eva, Emily and Laura – spend their time deconstructing children’s literature and the messages in modern pop music. But when a new member, Jim, joins to share his depression and thoughts of suicide, the conversation takes a dark turn. The group is torn between those who want to help and those who see this as a chance to create a martyr for the teenage population.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Anna Mackmin and designed by Jonathan Fensom. It was performed by Matt Smith, Javone Prince, Matti Houghton, Andrea Riseborough, Andrew Garfield and Naomi Bentley.

A feature film version was released in 2010, directed by Hideo Nakata from a screenplay by Enda Walsh.

audio Chavez Ravine

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The controversial history of Chavez Ravine, the immigrant community that once existed on the site that is now Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, is explored with humor, brutal honesty, and pulse-racing music by the nation's premier Chicano/Latino theatre troupe, Culture Clash.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Culture Clash: Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, Herbert Siguenza and Zilah Mendoza.

Featuring: Culture Clash: Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, Herbert Siguenza and Zilah Mendoza

The Cherry Orchard (trans. Murphy)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In Chekhov’s tragicomedy of inertia and loss – perhaps his most popular play – an aristocratic family cling to their sheltered lives in a picturesque estate while the forces of social change beat on the walls outside.

Completely bankrupt, Lyubov Ranyevskaya returns with her daughter Anya from Paris to her childhood home, to the beautiful cherry orchard outside the house and to her grief. The estate is paralysed by debt, but she and her billiard-playing brother refuse to save their finances by having the vast orchard cut down to build holiday cottages. Hopelessly paralysed, incapable of decisive action, they put the estate up for auction, and find their world is brought crashing down by powerful forces rooted deep in history and in the society around them

Chekhov maintained that the play was a cheerful and frivolous comedy, but audiences have found its tragedy irresistible. The comedy is poignant; the tone is ambiguous, both farcical and piercing. While remaining faithful to the original, Tom Murphy’s adaptation reimagines the events of this classic play in a language that resonates with wit, clarity and verve. It was first performed in 2004 at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

Child of the Divide  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

I have a boy. He is across the border, I know he is.
A few miles between. The same stars

Shine on him

Summer 1947. Sixteen million people are on the move between India and the newly-formed Pakistan. Amid the violent political upheaval, young Pali’s fingers slip from his father’s hand, and his destiny changes forever.

Lost, dispossessed and alone, Pali is saved by a Muslim family. The boy is given a new home and new family, a new name, a new faith and a new life. But seven years later, his real father returns to claim him and Pali’s life is turned upside down again. He is forced to decide who he is: the Hindu boy he was born to be, the Muslim boy he has become, or simply a child of the divide.

This edition has been published to mark the 70th anniversary of the partition of India and a new high-profile production originating once again at the Polka Theatre. Sudha Bhuchar’s remarkable story of family, identity and belonging set against a fractured landscape is a fictionalised account of real experiences, of families torn apart and of stolen pasts, where friendship and love are found in unexpected places.

Christmas

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

With a sharp ear for the verbal rhythms of conversation, Stephens glimpses the everyday weariness beneath the chat of men down on their luck, in a pub that has fallen out of time.

It is a week before Christmas in Michael Macgraw’s tired and empty pub in London. Michael adds a shot of whisky to his tea, and waits for some customers. Slowly, the regulars trickle in: twitchy, miserable twenty-nine year old Billy Lee Russell, who has just found out who his father was, and Giuseppe Rossi, a proud and elderly Italian barber, who has charged the same price for the last five years. They are joined by a series of strangers who only stay for one drink, and by Charlie Anderson who is on a lonely pub crawl with a cello, and they talk through the long night about what went wrong.

Christmas was first performed in 2003 at the Pavilion Theatre, Brighton.

Christmas Crackers

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It's Christmas at the A&E of a Hull hospital; as Keith the security guard keeps out of doors to keep an eye on the patients, their families, and the staff, we see an array of people come and go: from drugged-up Stevo to fagged-out Len, each with their own little mini-dramas to be seen. But Kath, the A&E nurse who this time last year lost her husband, is faced with the biggest drama of all, when she unexpectedly receives two tickets for a city-break to Prague.

Swiftly the action moves from the naturalistic setting of northern England to the expressionistic portrayal of Eastern Europe as Kath, along with her colleague Holly, experiences life's cold, frightening and amazing faces in Prague's mysterious environs.

Christmas Crackers was first performed by Hull Truck Theatre Company in December 2006 at Spring Street Theatre, Hull.

The Christmas Tree

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

A tree lot. Christmas Eve. One man. One woman. One tree. Who should get it? Each gives reasons through tales of woe as to why they are more deserving of the tree, and each seems unmoved by the other's predicament. A story filled with laughs, heartache, and good old-fashioned Christmas spirit.

Cinderella

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Cinderella is a play about a journey from darkness to light, from sickness to health. Everyone in the play is under the influence of some kind of loss, and the play explores these feelings and the sometimes painful route one must take to accomodate them and move on in life. 'This adaptation of the world’s best-loved fairytale is not to be missed. A Christmas treat for all the family, whether one is five or 95.’ Morning Star

Citizenship

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Citizenship is a bittersweet one-act comedy about growing up, following a boy's frank and messy search to discover his sexual identity.

Tom dreams of being kissed, but he’s not sure whether by a man or by a woman, and he feels he should choose pretty quickly. His friends’ homophobic teasing and interrogations about what he did with his friend Amy the other night leave Tom no space to make up his mind, and he’s got no one to ask for advice, except maybe people on the internet.

Citizenship captures adolescent confusion with a witty and sensitive charm, crackling with humorous and authentic dialogue.

Ravenhill’s play was developed as part of the National Theatre Connections 2005 Programme and premiered in the Cottesloe at the National Theatre, London.

The Clockmaker

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

‘WHO ARE YOU?’ Monsieur Pierre (the immigration official) poses his usual question, but Heinrich’s unusual answer sets in motion a metaphysical roller coaster. Why would a simple statement of name and profession bring so much attention to an unassuming clockmaker? Maybe because that’s two more things than anyone else in this place remembers . . . ? Soon, Heinrich is reminding his new friend Frieda of memories she’s forgotten and even summoning up a few of his own – of forbidden love, and crimes he may or may not have committed. Is it possible to be guilty of being about to commit a crime, as Monsieur Pierre suspects? And why wouldn’t one recall something so significant as premeditating murder? Armed with a newfound-yet-familiar love for each other, Heinrich and Frieda set about solving this Kafkaesque puzzle. Winner of the Betty Mitchell Award for Best New Play (2009) and named best Canadian play of the 2010-2011 season at the inaugural Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards.

Close To Home

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Jay's little sister is pregnant and he's livid – who's he going to punish?

Closing Time

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Owen McCafferty's Closing Time is a tender portrait of love, dignity and emotional damage set in a Belfast pub. It was first performed at the National Theatre, London, on 9 September 2002. Performances took place in the Lyttelton Loft as part of the National Theatre’s Transformation Season.

The play is set in a 'grubby pub/hotel' owned by feisty but fading Vera and her permanently half-drunk husband Ronnie. The pub provides a sanctuary from the outside world for those who live or drink there. Images on the large-screen television (which is always on, but with its sound muted) tell of Belfast’s ‘transformation’ after years of sectarian violence. But as the drinks flow and night closes in, the reality of life sinks in and everybody’s ability to cope with each other and themselves is eroded.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by James Kerr and designed by Rae Smith. It was performed by Pam Ferris, Patrick O’Kane, Jim Norton, Lalor Roddy and Kieran Ahern.

Clubland

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Clubland is a south London drama of sexual politics, which confronts pressing questions of race, cultural identity and the roles in which society casts young men and women.

Although Ben is married to Denise he's still on the pull, Kenny's looking for someone who's "right", Ade's with Sandra but playing the field, and Nate's a proud new father. The play follows this group of young men and women in and out of the clubs, as they discuss each other's lives, who has slept with whom and whether black or white people are better in bed.

With shrewd insight and a sharp ear for dialogue, Williams examines the mechanisms of race, discrimination and sexual stereotypes, and the power they have over people’s lives.

Clubland premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2001.

Clybourne Park

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park is an acerbic satire tracing the fault line between race and property through the changing ownership of a property in Clybourne Street, central Chicago. It is also a witty riff on Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal 1959 drama A Raisin in the Sun, the first play by a black female playwright to run on Broadway.

Clybourne Park was first performed at Playwrights Horizons, New York City, on 21 February 2010.

The play is set in the interior of 'a modest three-bedroom bungalow, 406 Clybourne Street, in the near north-west of central Chicago'. In the opening act, set in 1959, Russ and Bev are moving out after a family tragedy. Their son committed suicide in the house, after going off the rails during the Korean War, and they are desperate to get out. They are selling the place for a knock-down price, which means that a black family will be moving in, much to the disquiet of neighbourhood resident Karl, who pops round to tell Bev and Russ – in front of the black maid Francine – that they are undermining property values. In the second act, set in 2009, the same property is being bought by Lindsey and Steve, a young white couple who want to build a new house on the same plot, but face hostility from the all-black residents' committee who are concerned that white newcomers will erase the cultural significance of the area.

Part of the power of Clybourne Park derives from how the events in the play intersect with those in Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. In the earlier play, the black Youngers plan to move into a white neighborhood when a character named Karl Lindner, a representative of the community association, offers to buy them out. In the first act of Clybourne Park, the same Karl Lindner tries to persuade the house’s white owners not to sell to a black family – the Youngers, it is assumed – out of fear of what that would do to the property values and the culture of the neighbourhood.

The Playwrights Horizons production was directed by Pam MacKinnon. It was performed by Frank Wood, Christina Kirk, Crystal A. Dickinson, Brendan Griffin, Damon Gupton, Jeremy Shamos and Annie Parisse. The production transferred to Broadway the following year.

The play received its European premiere at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London, on 2 September 2010 (previews from 26 August), directed by Dominic Cooke and designed by Robert Innes Hopkins. It was performed by Steffan Rhodri, Sophie Thompson, Lorna Brown, Sam Spruell, Lucian Msamati, Martin Freeman, Sarah Goldberg and Michael Goldsmith.

This production received its West End premiere at the Wyndham’s Theatre, London, on 8 February 2011 (previews from 28 January), with some changes to the cast.

The play received numerous awards, including the London Evening Standard Award for Best Play, the Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, the Olivier Award for Best New Play, the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Cockroach

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Sam Holcroft's play Cockroach depicts a world infected by violence, exploring Darwin's theory of evolution and the apparent male propensity for war. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 23 October 2008, in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland.

The play is set in a classroom in a seemingly normal modern-day comprehensive school. While Beth, the teacher, instructs the unruly pupils in the principles of natural selection, the boys are being called up to fight in some unspecified conflict that rages on in the world outside. Beth believes that only education will set her pupils free, but, despite her best efforts, the tide of conflict is soon lapping at the school gates. One by one, pupils and teacher are pulled under as their hopes and dreams float away from them. In a central recurring image, the girls clean the torn and bloodied uniforms of dead soldiers.

The premiere production was directed by Vicky Featherstone and designed by Naomi Wilkinson. It was performed by Frances Ashman, Ryan Fletcher, Meg Fraser (as Beth), Laura McMonagle, Helen Mallon and Owen Whitelaw.

Cold Comfort

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Owen McCafferty’s short play Cold Comfort is a monologue about a man returning to his native Belfast for his father's funeral. It was first performed by Prime Cut Productions Theatre Company at the Old Museum Arts Centre in Belfast in May 2005.

The play is performed on an empty stage 'but for three simple wooden chairs and a coffin'. Kevin Toner is a washed-up, hard-drinking bricklayer who has returned to Belfast after years of living in Kilburn, London. He has come to attend his father’s funeral. Alone onstage with the coffin bearing his father’s remains, his trusty whisky always to hand, he begins one last conversation with his ‘da’ as he takes an often painful trip down memory lane. A chair is transformed into his mother as he plagues her with questions as to why she left the family home, and another becomes his estranged wife, Theresa, with whom he shared a drink problem. As Kevin slowly grows more inebriated, a portrait emerges of a man grown haggard and bitter from his lonely existence, and from a family tragedy for which he shares the guilt.

The Prime Cut premiere was directed by Owen McCafferty and designed by David Craig. It was performed by Patrick O'Kane.

Come On Over

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Conor McPherson's Come On Over is a short play for two characters that was first performed at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, on 27 September 2001.

Matthew, a Jesuit priest sent to investigate a ‘miracle’ in his hometown, re-encounters Margaret, the woman who loved him thirty years before.

The Gate Theatre premiere was directed by Conor McPherson with Jim Norton as Matthew and Dearbhla Molloy as Margaret.

Comrades

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco dreamt of the land of the free. Leaving their small Italian villages, they embarked on a long voyage to the United States, only to encounter a world they never could have imagined. Controversially imprisoned for murder, both men must fight for their lives amidst discrimination and public humiliation. Based on actual events, Comrades bring to life Sacco and Vanzetti's seven-year imprisonment and explores the struggles and agonies of two men, tried not for what they did, but for who they were.

The Contingency Plan

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A double bill of plays from the frontline of climate change - an epic portrait of an England of the near future, in the grip of unprecedented and catastrophic floods.

On the Beach is set in an England in the grip of unprecedented flooding, glaciologist Will Paxton returns from months in Antarctica to tell his parents that he will take up a role within Government. Thirty years ago, his father silenced his own radical thinking on climate change. Yet behind the reunion with his father lies years of secrecy and bitterness. As the truth surfaces, the family is torn apart, and Will’s parents must face the rising tide alone. The dialectic between Will and his father is explored with an urgent intensity which reflects the state of national emergency in which England finds itself. Waters blends the personal with the political turning this large-scale play into a compelling human drama.

In Resilience, England faces an uncertain future as catastrophic flooding on an unprecedented scale is predicted to hit its battered shores. The Tory Government that has just come to power wants radical answers to the imminent floods. Their newly appointed expert Will Paxton (who features prominently in the first part of the double bill, On the Beach) posits an extreme scenario. He declares England, potentially from coastline to capital, to be in total peril. Tory Minister for Climate Change, Chris is blind to the realities being placed before him, much to the chagrin of Will and his colleague, Colin, the Government’s Scientific Advisor. Resilience shows that Will’s fight to implement a proper policy, built from scientific research, derives in part from the old familial wounds aired in On the Beach.

Resilience and On the Beach premiered as a double bill at the Bush Theatre in London in 2009.

Impressive in scale and chilling as a prediction of our immediate future, the two plays are complementary but can also stand alone.

Coram Boy

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Helen Edmundson's stage adaptation of Jamila Gavin's Whitbread Award-winning children's novel, Coram Boy (published in 2000), is a Dickensian tale of philanthropy, foundling children, and families both divided and, ultimately, reunited. It was first performed, with music composed by Adrian Sutton, in the Olivier auditorium of the National Theatre, London, on 15 November 2005 (previews from 2 November).

In 18th-century Gloucestershire, the evil Otis Gardner preys on unmarried mothers, promising to take their babies (and their money) to Thomas Coram's hospital for foundling children. Instead, he buries the babies and pockets the loot. But Otis's downfall is set in train when his half-witted son Meshak falls in love with a young girl, Melissa, and rescues the unwanted son she has had with a disgraced aristocrat. The child is brought up in Coram's hospital, and proves to have inherited the startling musical gifts of his father – gifts that ultimately bring about his father's redemption and a heartbreaking family reunion.

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Melly Still and designed by Ti Green and Melly Still. It was performed by Jack Tarlton, Justine Mitchell, Nicholas Tizzard, Abby Ford, Anna Madeley, Paul Ritter, Ruth Gemmell, Inika Leigh Wright, Adam Shipway, Rebecca Johnson, Kelly Williams, Eve Matheson, Katherine Manners, Sophie Bould, William Scott-Masson, Bertie Carvel, Sharon Maharaj, Akiya Henry, Chetna Pandya and Stuart McLoughlin.

It was revived at the National Theatre from November 2006 to February 2007.

The play opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theater on 2 May 2007, with previews from 16 April 2007, directed by Melly Still.

The Cordelia Dream

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Haunted by her dream of Cordelia and Lear, a woman confronts an elderly man, her lifelong antagonist and rival. During their passionate altercation he dismisses her success as a composer and demands she make the ultimate sacrifice: for him to flourish she, his protégée, must be silent.

Five years later, she returns for a final and devastating encounter.

Marina Carr's The Cordelia Dream premiered in December 2008 at Wilton's Music Hall, London, in a production by the Royal Shakespeare Company.